Comeback: Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin celebrates
Madrid (AFP) - Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin saved four match points to defeat Miomir Kecmanovic in the Davis Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday leaving Novak Djokovic with the job of keeping Serbia in the competition.
Kukushkin, the world 182, triumphed over 69th-ranked Kecmanovic 7-6 (7⁄5), 4-6, 7-6 (13⁄11) after more than three hours on court.
World number one Djokovic must now defeat 36th-ranked Alexander Bublik to drag Serbia back into the tie and leave the match to be decided in the doubles rubber.
Djokovic is due to team up with Nikola Cacic in the doubles against Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
Serbia, the 2010 Davis Cup winners, will face Croatia in the last-four if they come through Wednesday’s tie.
Kecmanovic, preferred by Serbia captain Viktor Troicki over higher-ranked Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic, had been on course for victory after winning seven games in a row on his way to a 3-0 lead in the decider.
“You know this kind of match for sure is going to be special in my life,” said the 33-year-old Russian-born Kukushkin.
“I don’t even know what was the score in the tiebreak. This is why we love the Davis Cup, it’s about these kind of matches.
“I’m so honoured to play for my country. Our fans are the best in the world. They gave that kind of support for so many years. I was fighting a lot, it was such a difficult match.”
Germany will face either Sweden or Russia in the other semi-final with the final also being played in Madrid on Sunday.